Discuss: Winter riding makes you a better rider

Dark mornings, darker nights, rain, snow and greasy manhole covers. A biker's worst nightmare or an opportunity to gain extra skills?

Riding through winter: there are those that do and those that simply don't. For those that do, it's mainly out of necessity, afterall, not many people choose to go out in the wind and rain for pleasure. For those that don't, the riding season starts with the first days of dry roads and ends at the first sign of rain but does riding in all conditions make you a better rider when conditions are good?

Or is it better to end the year on dry roads, put the bike away for winter and get it back out again when the roads are dry. Afterall, you're more likely to come off in bad conditions and that crash could cost you a lot of confidence and set you back in your riding ability. A slip and a slide might teach one guy that the bike can do it, but it might shatter another's confidence. Is it simply a case of more miles, means more experience and therefore you'll get better or do slippery roads and ice-cold conditions give you an edge you just can't get by clocking up the miles on dry roads?

Gary Baldwin, Director of Rapid Training, has been riding for 35 years and is an ex-Road Traffic Police biker with Police Class 1 training, he thinks riding in winter will make you a better rider: "It helps to be fluent in all conditions and raises your game. Skills you pick up in miserable conditions will help you deal with surfaces that you may encounter at any time of the year. People build up riding in the rain to be what it isn't, it's nothing to be feared and certainly not a death sentence."

So there you have it: winter riding makes you a better rider. Or does it? What do you think.